THE BIG QUESTION
(Bismark Benson University, 2nd Semester Examination)
“Settle down everyone! Keep away your bags, handsets, notebook or any foreign material that may implicate you. The examination is about to commence…Please, place your Id card on your desk. I believe you know the rules and conduct of the examination. Woe betide you if I catch you with “Omo krikri” (cheating material). If you’re caught copying or ‘gyrraffing’ You’ll not only leave the exam hall, you’ll also be expelled from Bismark Benson University!”
(A massive scream of “Arrhhhh!” erupted from the hall)
“And please…A student per seat! Don’t cluster together. ‘Hey! That boy! You, yes you..leave that seat and find somewhere else..I’m talking to the boy in black shirt..’ Ehen..all of you get seated! You just have 2 hours and 5 minutes is gone already!” The robust, female exam
invigilator announced with a firm tone.
The students scurried in the big hall.
Some came fortified with ‘expo’ hidden inside their bra, pant, boxers, socks. As it has become the normal way of writing exams. Some searched for strategic points and favourable positions close to their intelligent mates. The ‘A-students’ were seated at the forefront, looking prepared and unruffled.
“I’m sitting behind you o, co-operate abeg..”Jeff said to Grace, winking, with a big smile flashed across his face.
“Ahh! Don’t count on me o. This course is a tough one.” Grace replied cheerfully as she arranged her writing materials on the desk.
“Oh please..I don’t believe you Gracieee, a whole ‘intelligentia’ like you…” Jeff teased.
She gave him a surprise look and answered “Errm, wait… are you a student of Economics department? What’s your name?”
“Of cos I am. I’m Jeff Emmanuel. You’re the course rep.” Jeff replied.
She’d never seen this face in class all these years, even as a course rep.
“Ohh..okay Jeff. Did you read the topic on Population analysis, the graphical representation, flow chart and the basic calculations? These are areas of concentration for Prof Okechukwu’s course..I’m sure you’re aware?”
(Jeff had no idea what Analysis and flow chart really meant. It sounded foreign to him as he never attended lectures.)
“I..I…but I think I..I..can do one or two things.. but then Grace, just help me nah..uhmm?” Jeff, gazing into her eyes requested softly while fidgeting with his pen. He tried to be as tactful as possible because Grace wasn’t the type to speak to anyone in the exam hall. The reason why students kept their distance from her during exams.
Grace gave a stern reply “Help you? You do know that this is wrong, right? We had enough time to prepare for this paper. Sorry, I will not be part of this!” She faced forward.
“Calm down Professor Grace, we’re in this race together nah..Abi do you want me to fail, my ‘able madam course rep’?” Jeff asked. Hoping his humour will soften her mood.
Now, Grace was grossed out by this fellow in dreads. She was repulsed by such things and it was something she’ll never do. She would not compromise her Christianity and moral standards by involving herself in exam malpractice. She turned to him again, adjusting her specs and gave him a long, hard warning look.
Then Innocent pinched Jeff from behind and whispered, saying “Guy, I no read o. I dey your back! Anyone you manage copy from ‘Grace’, pass am come back. Maintain formation…Make the answer dey flow well..No dulling..”
Click here to read Campus Affair (Episode 2)
(30 minutes into the exam)
“Write fast now. Number 1-A.. Number 2-C… Number 3-D…” Grace carefully avoided the invilator’s stare as she whispered the answers to Jeff. He quickly took them down on his answer sheet as if his life depended on it.
Grace wasn’t the type to get involved with empty headed, lazy students who refused to work hard for excellence. She considers them irritants. These lazy folks refused to burn their midnight candle, yet, they expect to be spoon- fed…Just like this rough-looking dread haired rascal seated behind her.
But why did she break her rules of maintaining good conduct all of a sudden?
Why is she doing this now, is her BIG QUESTION? She hated it and of cos, she wouldn’t forgive herself for this act.
After Jeff had completed the exam questions on his sheet, he folded it and smartly forwarded the answers to Innocent, in the blink of an eye. This was how they operated in the exam hall.
Jeff never believed Grace who gets tough with everyone would eventually yield. His fellow un serious friends winked at him from across the hall and hailed him for breaking Grace’s high walls.
Now he is assured of scoring an A in Professor Okechukwu Adum’s course.
* * * * * *
“Bad boy..How come I’ve never seen your face in class all these years? Are you sure you’re not one of those ghost students?” Grace quizzed as they both exited the gigantic ‘Maduabuchi Innocent’ hall.
“Bad boy? Oh my God!” He chuckled.
“Yes?” She queried…
“No! No Grace…Actually, I’m just a loner, I guess” (He lied)
“I should buy you lunch for trouble. Why not join me in my car?” Jeff requested.
(She would’ve loved to grab a lunch before heading to the lab, as she was starving like hell. But she should not be caught walking closely with this thug in dreadlocks and ear studs)
Her eyes travelled down his beautiful bearded face to his skin-clad, low cut shirt revealing his broad chest and lingered a while on the little tuft of chest hair.
Grace replied “uhmm, I’m sorry, I’m headed to the lab to get my research work done.”
“You’re a very studious lady, see you around later then.” Jeff said casually and walked away.
She turned back again and stared at him as he walked toward his red sports car parked few metres away from the University hall.
His approach…his confidence…his bad boy step..his swagger…
Watching his car zoom off on the paved road at top speed, with the blast of rap music from the speakers, She found the answer to her ‘Big question’.
……………………………. To Be Continued……………………..
Written By: Bismark Ekenedilichukwu Benson
Cover Photo By: Victor Ede
Click here to read Campus Affair (Episode 2)